Young gun in running for Wests Tigers 7 jersey

The battle for the coveted number seven jersey at Wests Tigers may well have a new contender in exciting young signing Jacob Miller.

The 18-year-old from Ocean Shores on the NSW North Coast has received glowing reports from the coaching staff and will certainly apply the blowtorch to tried and tested halves Robert Lui and Tim Moltzen.

Assistant Wests Tigers Coach Peter Gentle coached Miller in the NSW U18s side in 2010 and was very impressed with his efforts.

"Jacob virtually won us the game. He handled the ball more than anyone, he kicked five goals from five attempts and set up a couple of tries," Gentle recalled.

"I was very impressed with his leadership qualities in camp in the week leading up to the game and that's why I gave him the captaincy.

"He was a natural leader at that level. He understood the game plan. When you talk football to some players, you need to draw it or show them. He sees it in his mind.

"Jacob has two years in the 20s ahead of him but if he knuckles down, I feel he has a big future here.

"He is a confident kid and you need to be if you are going to be a decent half-back. You need to be confident in your own ability."

For Miller, the decision to leave the Sydney Roosters with one year remaining on his contract in favour of the Wests Tigers was an easy one.

With Todd Carney and Mitchell Pearce entrenched in the halves, Miller felt his best opportunity of playing NRL was at Concord Oval. He is currently training with the NRL summer squad.

There was also the lure of playing under Gentle again and learning from one of the game's greatest coaches in Tim Sheens, not to mention the opportunity of perhaps playing outside the wizardry skills of Benji Marshall.

"I wasn't planning on leaving the Roosters,'' Miller confessed. "I enjoyed playing under 'Gents' (Peter Gentle) for NSW and his coaching style really suited me.

"I am more of a half-back than a five-eighth. Playing half gives me a bit more of a pull over the six but that will change if I play next to Benji.

"Everyone at Wests Tigers have made me feel very welcomed. The first few weeks here have been really good and I have taken it upon myself to not just sit back at training but get stuck in. "I really want to be a part of this NRL squad. I can't wait to start playing."

Gentle said the club was delighted to have secured Miller, who caught the eye of the Wests Tigers recruitment team when he scored five tries and kicked six goals for Newtown in a SG Ball semi-final against Balmain at CUA Stadium in 2009.

"There is an opportunity here for him. He has two years in the 20s and his opportunity might not come for another 12 months but when it does, he needs to be ready,'' Gentle said.

"With the half-back options we have here, I'd say he would start the season off in the 20s but it is not where you start the season, it is where you finish it. He could be an 18-year-old playing first grade.

"Jacob's style of football suits the way Wests Tigers play. He sees that. One reason or another, the Roosters were not keen to keep him beyond next season. They have got Todd Carney, Mitchell Pearce, Braith Anasta and some good players in the NSW Cup that were ahead of him, so in the pecking order over there, he was down the list.

"He saw more of a chance here and knowing the way Tim gives young blokes an opportunity, he decided to join us.

"I have a high opinion of him but he can't come here and just expect to get the first grade job. He has Tim Moltzen, Rob Lui and a few decent half-backs ahead of him, so it is a good challenge for him."